Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Coach, Dollar General, Micron, VMware, Waste Management and More

October 21, 2015 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated higher on Wednesday after some recent volatility. Investors keep showing that they will buy their favorite stocks and other value stocks or opportunities when the opportunity is there. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst calls cover stocks to buy and others cover stocks to sell or avoid.

These are this Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated as Buy with a $160.00 price target (versus a $113.77 prior close) at Canaccord Genuity. The call is ahead of earnings and is based on Apple maintaining strong share of the premium tier smartphone market. Apple’s consensus analyst price target is $147.95 and the 52-week trading range is $92.00 to $134.54.

Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight with a $27.00 price target (versus a $30.06 close) at Morgan Stanley. Coach has a consensus price target of $37.57 and a 52-week range of $27.22 to $43.87.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was raised to Neutral from Underperform with a $73.00 price objective (versus a $67.03 close) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Dollar General remains on the 24/7 Wall St. list of 10 stocks to own for the next decade.

Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham. After closing at $17.09, Micron has a consensus analyst target of $22.27 and a 52-week range of $13.50 to $36.59.

VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) saw its price target lowered to $78 from $95 at Oppenheimer. Raymond James downgraded VMware to Market Perform from Outperform. Pacific Crest downgraded it to Sector Weight from Overweight, and Sterne Agee CRT cut its rating to Neutral from Buy. VMware shares were last seen down 11% at $61.00, versus a prior 52-week range of $67.48 to $93.43.

Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WM) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $60.00 price target (versus a $52.71 close) at Stifel. The company is in a dual race with Republic for being on the 10 stocks to own for the next decade. Its consensus analyst price target is $57.25 and its 52-week range is $45.86 to $55.93.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades on Wednesday were seen in the following:

Brinker International Inc. (NYSE: EAT) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

Cash America International Inc. (NYSE: CSH) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee CRT.

Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham.

Cree Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE) was maintained as Hold, but the price target was raised to $28 from $21, at Canaccord Genuity.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) was maintained as Buy at Janney Capital Markets after earnings. Oppenheimer raised its price target to $75 from $73.

Gulfport Energy Corp. (NASDAQ: GPOR) was started with a Buy rating and was assigned a $48.00 price target (versus a $34.08 close) at Canaccord Genuity.

Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets. JPMorgan downgraded it to Neutral from Overweight.

Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL) was maintained as Buy but the price target was lowered to $3.25 from $3.50 at Roth Capital.

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IAMGOLD Corp. (NYSE: IAG) was downgraded to Sell from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.

Memorial Resource Development Corp. (NYSE: MRD) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

M&T Bank Corp. (NYSE: MTB) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, and the price target was cut to $129.00 (versus a $115.45 close).

NRG Yield Inc. (NYSE: NYLD) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform with a $16.00 price target (versus a $14.71 close) at RBC Capital Markets.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) was reiterated as Buy at Canaccord Genuity, but the firm lowered its earnings estimates due to slowing global smartphone sales, and it lowered its price target to $72 from $75 in the call.

Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI) was downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at CLSA.

Western Refining Inc. (NYSE: WNR) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley, and the price target was cut to $35.00 from $50.00 (versus a $32.83 close). Shares were indicated down almost 2% at $32.20 in early trading on Wednesday.

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In case you missed Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they were in Bluebird Bio, Boston Beer, Etsy, Gilead Sciences, Pfizer, PMC-Sierra, Valeant Pharmaceuticals and over a dozen more companies. There were five overlooked analyst calls on Tuesday as well, in Alibaba, Bluebird, Clean Diesel, Facebook and Hawaiian Holdings.